How-To Geek

Speed Up the Help Dialog in Windows and Office

When you click help, you don’t want to wait for your computer to bring it to you.  Here’s how you can speed up the help dialog in Windows and Office.

If you have a slow internet connection, chances are you’ve been frustrated by the Help dialog in Windows and Office trying to download fresh content every time you open them. This can be great if the updated help files contain better content, but sometimes you just want to find what you were looking for without waiting.  Here’s how you can turn off the automatic online help.

Use Local Help in Windows

Windows 7 and Vista’s help dialog usually tries to load the latest content from the net, but this can take a long time on slow connections.


If you’re seeing the above screen a lot, you may want to switch to offline help.  Click the “Online Help” button at the bottom, and select “Get offline Help”.


Now your computer will just load the pre-installed help files.  And don’t worry; if there’s a major update to your help files, Windows will download and install it through Windows Update.


Stupid Geek Tip: An easy way to open Windows Help is to click on your desktop or Start Menu and press F1 on your keyboard.

Use Local Help in Office

This same trick works in Office 2007 and 2010.  We’ve actually had more problems with Office’s help being tardy.


Solve this the same way as with Windows help.  Click on the “Connected to” or “Connected to Office Online” button, depending on your version of Office, and select “Show content only from this computer”.


This will automatically change the settings for Help in all of your Office applications. While this may not be a major trick, it can be helpful especially if you have a slow internet connection and want to get things done quickly. 

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 05/5/10

Comments (2)

  1. Raymond Ng

    I am having a little problem with my keyboard Pad Control. My mouse pad, my left and right buttons are
    not operating at all. This happened recently and I do not know what caused it ? I am seeking assistance from you to help me fix it, if you can. I have to invest money on an external wireless mouse to alleviate this problem, for the time being ( not on a permanent basis ! )
    I have a Toshiba Laptop Vista Home Premium model A205 Series. What must I do to get the system working again without dismantling my computer ? I do not wish to take the machine apart, if I can help it !
    Thank you for your advice and guidance on a step by step basis. If I leave this message in the wrong department, please kindly forward it to on the Forums instead. Thank you for all your help.
    Best Regards,
    Raymond Ng

  2. Matthew Guay

    @Raymond Ng – This question may be best for the forums; feel free to post there and see if anyone has a solution. Hope this helps and you figure out how to fix your laptop!

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